Section 2. Protection of Japanese Abroad and Strengthening of the Crisis Management System


1. The Need for Protection of Japanese Abroad and Strengthening of the Crisis Management System


While the international situation remains unstable, the number of Japanese travelers and Japanese residents abroad today exceeds 10 million and 600,000 respectively. The number of Japanese corporations and businesses abroad and the size of Japanese overseas assets have also risen dramatically, increasing the presence of Japan in the international community.

In case of emergencies, Japanese embassies, consulates and missions abroad, the frontline bases of its diplomatic activities, become the bases for crisis management, including the protection of Japanese abroad. Many of Japan's diplomatic establishments abroad are located in places where security is a source of concern and infrastructure is not adequate. In emergencies, they must operate under increased constraints, such as disrupted information and breakdowns in electricity and telecommunications.

In recent years, the number of emergency cases and crimes targeting the Japanese has increased. In 1991 there were 45 cases in which the Government of Japan took some kind of measures to protect Japanese in emergencies abroad such as disturbances or disasters. In particular, the Gulf Crisis that broke out in August 1990 provided important lessons on the need to strengthen Japan's system to manage crisis abroad and to protect its nationals. Specifically, there is a need to enhance the collection and analysis of information, as well as to strengthen communications functions which enable swift communications even when normal channels are blocked. There is also a need to urgently improve the ability of diplomatic offices abroad to serve as a "fort" even when there are electricity losses or food shortages.

The Migration Council in June 1991 submitted to the Government of Japan comprehensive proposals in an effort to strengthen its capability to cope with emergencies, including improving the communications network, providing the public with necessary information for safety, enhancing transport capacity and increasing the facilities and personnel of diplomatic offices abroad. In December of the same year, the Advisory Group to the Foreign Minister on the Enhancement of Diplomatic Function submitted a recommendation that the functions and systems of Japanese diplomatic missions abroad, such as their facilities, crisis management system and protection of Japanese nationals should be strengthened expeditiously.


2. Efforts on the Organization, Personnel and Budget


In FY 1992, a new post was created with the view to strengthening the system for protecting Japanese nationals in case of emergencies. An increase in the number of personnel for these tasks was also approved.

The FY 1992 appropriation was increased by 108.2 percent (or \700 million) to a total of \1.35 billion in order to improve the crisis management system fundamentally. The communications function was strengthened by the use of telecommunications, including wireless telecommunications in emergencies, cellular telephones, portable telephones, pagers, marine satellite communications (INMARSAT), parabola antennae, and wire service information. The capabilities of diplomatic establishments abroad were substantially enhanced by the installation of power generators, fuel tanks, and emergency storage.

Nevertheless, compared with the U.S. and Western European countries, Japan is insufficiently equipped with the crisis management and protection systems for Japanese citizens abroad. Thus, there is a need to improve these infrastructures in terms of both their hardware and software.


3. Public and Private Sector Cooperation


Against the background of the Gulf Crisis in 1991 and the increasing number of Japanese nationals falling victim to crimes during 1991 and 1992, the Government of Japan launched in June 1992 the Conference for Public and Private Sector Cooperation on Overseas Security for Japanese Nationals to improve the abovementioned functions of crisis-management and protection of Japanese nationals abroad in terms of software. This aims to encourage the public and private sectors to cooperate in the areas of exchange of information, joint studies, as well as on planning safety measures for the protection of Japanese nationals abroad. In addition, officials in 170 Japanese diplomatic missions abroad, except the Japanese missions to international organizations, were assigned responsibilities for overall safety measures. Coordination committees on safety measures were set up at 112 overseas missions, in Asia, Latin America, the Middle East and Africa, jointly with the local Japanese communities, thereby helping strengthen cooperation between the public and private sectors in preparation for emergencies.


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